Physical action for spiritual need
Which is more important in life, the physical or the spiritual?
There have been some philosophies which teach that only the spiritual aspect of life matters, and the physical has no impact on our relationship with God. Others have taught that everything physical is tainted with sin and therefore completely evil. Then they argue – “If everything physical is inherently evil, how is it possible that a perfect God would pollute himself and put on flesh?”
These kinds of questions have been around Christianity as far back as the first century. It is likely the believers in Colossae were dealing with these questions from the Greek philosophers of their day. In his letter to the believers, Paul provides a description of the relationship between the physical and the spiritual…as well as pointing out how God has dealt with both aspects.
Speaking about Jesus, he said:
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself
by making peace through the blood of His cross –
whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Paul says that God was pleased that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Also, the reconciliation we needed was brought about through the blood of His cross – which is most certainly physical. Paul then reinforces the concept that our physical lives impact our spiritual existence:
And you were once alienated and hostile in mind because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him
It was our evil actions that spiritually separated us from God. However, it was there that God met us – He has reconciled you by His physical body. Jesus’ physical death paid the spiritual cost we could never pay. The purpose of this payment wasn’t just to grant people access to heaven…instead, God has a much larger goal in mind, namely to present you holy faultless, and blameless before Him.
In the second half of the letter, Paul will discuss the practical ways that choices in our physical lives affect our spiritual health and relationship with God. For now, let’s just marvel at the mystery of God meeting us in the physical arena, in the exact place where we made a mess of everything:
Speaking about Jesus, the apostle John wrote:
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
We are grateful because God took physical action in order to address our spiritual need.